Aston Villa welcomed back Emi Martinez to Bodymoor Heath on Friday morning, with the hope that he will now be available to face Tottenham on Sunday.
The 30-year-old was given an extended break after helping Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar this month, and as a result he missed our Boxing Day clash with Liverpool.
Unai Emery confirmed last week the timeline that the club had given Martinez to rest and recover after an emotional few weeks, and so it was expected that he would be back with his club teammates late this week.
As seen in the club’s tweet below, Martinez is now back at the training ground and so with at least one full day of training ahead, it’s hoped that he has enough time to make himself available for selection come Sunday afternoon.
Robin Olsen once again deputised for Martinez last time out, and although it’s the defensive unit as a whole that needs to improve, the experienced Swede has conceded 11 goals in the three games in which he has played so far this season, and so it’s clear that we don’t have the same solidity at the back when he’s between the posts.
That in turn makes Martinez’s return all the more important, and it’s hoped that he has enough time now to prove his fitness – albeit that of course isn’t as important for the shot-stopper – but more so that he is mentally prepared to come back into the Villa starting XI and play at his best level.
Villa will be looking to bounce back from the disappointment of losing to Liverpool, but it certainly won’t be easy against Antonio Conte’s side and so we’ll hope to also welcome Matty Cash back to the line-up as we move closer towards our strongest XI being back out on the pitch.
Look who's back. 👀
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) December 30, 2022